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Riots in Bahria Town Karachi, Damages properties and vehicles

KARACHI: Two international fast food franchises, several vehicles, a showroom and two offices of estate agents were set on fire in Bahria Town Karachi (BTK) on Sunday after a mob forced its way through the main gate during a protest by the Sindh Action Committee (SAC) against the mega housing project.

Police resorted to teargas shelling and fired rubber bullets to control the situation that turned ugly after thousands of people arrived at the housing project from different parts of the province to stage a peaceful protest against ‘land grabbing’, ‘forced eviction of locals’ and ‘demolition of villages’ in the name of development.

The protesters, however, refused to accept any blame for the trouble, alleging that the BTK staff themselves got hold of some nationalist party flags and set fire to the main gate, the Business Trade Centre, the car showroom, vehicles, motorcycles, and other property on their own to give another colour to their peaceful protest.

As the SAC had given a call for sit-in outside the main gate of BTK on the M-9 motorway in advance, police had already placed containers on roads and temporary barriers to prevent the protesters from getting close to the BTK gate.

‘Halo halo [proceed proceed] Bahria Town’ was the main slogan that attracted thouands of people from not just Karachi but other parts of Sindh, including Thatta, Jamshoro, Sukkur, Larkana and Hyderabad, to the protest. There were also plans for holding simultaneous sit-ins in the UK and US to raise the issue of the indigenous of Sindh and the snatching away of their ancestral lands.

However, when the police attempted to stop SAC leaders, intellectuals, rights activists and others travelling in caravan of vehicles from moving close to BTK, they staged a sit-in on the highway, affecting heavy traffic flow, officials said.

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